Archive for May, 2011

PBS changing commercial-free approach

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

PBS will begin adding commercials to its shows this fall, according to the New York Times.

The public television network, which has always named corporate sponsors and underwriters at the beginning and end of programs, plans to insert “corporate and foundation sponsor spots, promotional messages and branding” into four breaks during “Nova” and “Nature” on Wednesday nights. The new approach would eventually expand night-by-night, PBS officials told member stations at its recent annual meeting in Orlando.

Some shows, like “Masterpiece Theater,” might not be interrupted, but generally the network would go from uninterrupted programming to having no longer than 15 minutes of programming without a commercial break, The Times says.

The current block of sponsor acknowledgements between shows can stretch for eight minutes and cause viewers to look elsewhere, the report points out. The new approach would eliminate downtime between programs.

On the other hand, part of PBS’ appeal is uninterrupted programming, and some suggest the change could hurt donations, which are increasingly important in the face of pressure to cut government funding.

TV’s robust ad sales tied to Facebook

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Broadcasters, including networks and cable channels, expect to increase advertising sales by $600 million to $800 million, or even by $1 billion over last spring in this year’s upfront sales for the coming season, The New York Times said Sunday.

The increase, which includes cable channel revenues edging closer to networks’, is in part attributed to discussion of TV moments on Facebook and other social nets.

“TV is about creating ‘water-cooler moments,’ only now they don’t take 12 hours till you’re at school or the office,” said Carolyn Everson, vice president for global marketing solutions at Facebook. “They happen in real time.”

Marketers in categories like cars, fast food, movies, retailing and telecommunications have been increasing ad budgets in recent quarters, the report says.

Networks took in about $500 million to $700 million more in the 2010 upfront market compared to 2009.

Cable channels this year could bring in $9 billion to $9.2 billion, an increase of 10 to 15 percent from their upfront season last year and close or equal to what the broadcast networks are expected to sell, The Times said. (The story doesn’t give a total figure for over-air networks.)

Hispanic television nets could bring in $1.9 billion — up 11.8 percent from last spring.

McClatchy cuts more in Charlotte, Lexington

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Update: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where circulation has grown by more than 12 percent in the last year, is eliminating 45 positions, affecting almost all departments of the newspaper, including news, production, advertising and circulation.

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The Charlotte Observer follows The News & Observer and others last week with its announcement this week of 26 positions being cut, as the Lexington Herald-Leader announces the elimination of 15 jobs, the Associated Press says.

Charlotte will also freeze 25 vacant positions. Four positions will be lost from Charlotte’s newsroom.

Lexington’s lost jobs include four now vacant.

McClatchy newspapers announced the elimination of about 100 positions in Raleigh, Miami, Kansas City and Bellingham, Wash., last week following a first quarter report that showed a $1.96 million loss as ad revenue plunged 11 percent year-over-year.

McClatchy papers among 25 predicted to survive

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Business Insider/The Wire looks at the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ top performing newspapers and finds “25 Papers That Have The Best Chance Of Being Around In 10 Years,” among which McClatchy newspapers are well represented.

“The Chicago Sun-Times — home of the much-loved and always popular Roger Ebert,” Business Insider explains — “led the list with a jump of 48.41 percent between March 2010 to March 2011.”

McClatchy’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram is second on the list with a 12.79 percent change in circulation from ’10 to ’11. The Miami Herald weighs in at 15th, where the growth is a meager 3.16 percent, but is growth nevertheless, and across the peninsula, the Bradenton Herald was 20th with a 1.6 percent uptick in circulation.

At 16, with a 3.12 percent increase, is the San Jose Mercury News a former Knight Ridder newspaper that McClatchy acquired in 2006 but sold off (to Media News) because it had no growth potential.

Sinking McClatchy tosses people overboard

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

McClatchy newspapers continue to spiral downward, this week announcing a new round of job elimination, including 20 positions at The News & Observer in Raleigh, “about two dozen” at the Kansas City Star, about 50 — including 35 vacant positions — at the Miami Herald, and eight at the Bellingham Herald in Washington.

Jobs will be eliminated through a combination of buyouts, layoffs and open positions left vacant. At The N&O, reportedly, a 50-year veteran of the Business office is among those being laid off.

The company is also closing two suburban papers in Kansas City and one in Missouri.

And, the company announced Tuesday that its employee stock purchase program is ending because of lack of participation. Fewer than 5 percent of eligible employees are buying stock, which is available at a discounted price through the program, Heather Fagundes, vice president, Human Resources, said in a memo to employees.

McClatchy stock closed at $2.83 Tuesday. It once sold for $77 and, at one point, for as little as 35 cents a share.

McClatchy announced last month that it  lost $1.96 million in the first quarter of the year on an 11 percent drop in advertising revenue.

Elsewhere, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said today that U.S. employers had announced plans to cut 12 percent fewer jobs in April than they had in March.